I write a monthly home column for Cornelius Today newspaper. This column was published at the end of March and thought I would share its content with readers of my blog. I hope you find the content useful.
March 2013: As I write this column, recent news headlines have been very encouraging with respect to jobs, the stock market, and even real estate. In spite of very low inventories of homes for sale in the Charlotte and Lake Norman region, some Realtors say the market is still soft with some neighborhoods more soft than others. Having your home ready to market before listing has always been important, even before the real estate crash. In down markets, properly prepared and staged homes will sell, if priced correctly. In hot markets, these homes will often fetch multiple offers above list price.
So how does a seller know which investments to make before selling their home? My answer is to consult a professional such as a Realtor® or an Accredited Home Staging Professional. These professionals will guide the seller through the process and save him or her money by avoiding costly mistakes such as selecting poor paint colors, installing the wrong type of flooring or not doing anything at all.
I would like to walk you through a true story about two home owners in Charlotte. House A and House B are two different homes on the same street with the exact same floor plan. House A is already for sale and the owner of House B also needs to sell. The owner of house B is not sure what improvements or changes to make to his home so he brings in a professional Realtor to assist with the process. The home owner chooses to hire Sherry Baynes, with Wilkinson & Associates in Cornelius. Sherry looks at the comps (neighborhood comparables) and recommends that the seller not only install new hardwood floors throughout the main level to match the competition down the street, but also recommends hiring a home staging professional to make recommendations throughout the home. These room by room recommendations touch on de-cluttering, furniture placement, and neutral color schemes. The seller listens to the expert advice and hires a hardwood flooring company and outsources the staging completely.
What is the ending of this story you ask? As of today, House A is still for sale for over fourteen weeks. House B made the proper enhancements both inside and out resulting in THREE showings the first week, and all THREE parties came with offers. The agreed price was approximately 99% of list price.
The point of this story is that you should always hire a professional to guide you through processes or tasks that are not your particular area of expertise. Putting your trust in the experts will give you the upper-hand and increase your odds of the most desirable outcome.
Before & After Photos of this Staging:
One thing my personal home lacks is a nice landing pad for my family to place our things from the day when we get home from work and school. A mud room is definitely on my wish list for my next home, if we ever find ourselves moving some day. A mud room is a space typically located off the kitchen or garage where the family can remove and store their shoes, backpacks and coats at the end of the day. Even if you don’t have such a space, you can possibly create your own in your foyer or hallway leading to your interior garage door.
There are several stores that sell functional pieces of furniture referred to as “hall trees” intended to help organize these areas of your home – or you can build your own to customize your needs. The “Bermuda” hall tree featured here is available for sale online via Joss & Main. You could also create a similar look using hooks installed on a board, which is then hung on the wall above a storage bench. A fun twist on this concept is to use items other than hooks to function as the hooks, such as an eclectic collection of antique door knobs.
The mud room featured here is from a staging project I worked on at the end of last year. This was a foreclosed home that was in need of serious renovation. The former laundry room off the garage featured a coat closet. I recommended that the investor have the general contractor demolish the closet and install built-in cubbies featured here. This renovation really opened up the space and is more functional than the previous design.
Whether a custom made look, a functional piece of furniture, or a bench and hooks, there are many options for homeowners to consider for organizing “end of the day clutter.” Spring is oftentimes a popular time of year for home-good stores to introduce new storage and organization lines, so venture on out and see what mudroom design will work in your home.
Houzz.com unveiled its 2013 “Best of Houzz” Winners, and Centerpiece Home Staging LLC is honored to be chosen as one of the recipients! Fewer than 3% of Houzz professionals received the award.
Our portfolio includes some of the most popular images on Houzz in 2012, and we ranked highly in customer satisfaction among Houzz’s 11 million monthly users. Centerpiece Home Staging was featured in three different professional IDEABOOKS on the site during 2012 and was also the recipient of two Best of the Lake awards in November by the Lake Norman Home Builder’s Association.
You can see Centerpiece Home Staging’s award-winning work on Houzz.com (photos shown below) in this “Best of” ideabook: Houzz Best of Remodeling 2013 – Charlotte (Living) also Decorate with Intention: Keeping Tidy in Smaller Spaces and 15 Ways to Design an Easy-Clean Home as well as “Game Rooms: Carve Out a Place for Fun”.
Bonus Room After Makeover
Jan. 2013 – The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) touts that being organized will increase your productivity, reduce levels of stress in your life, and can heighten profitability for your business or family. I recently met with one of NAPOs local members, Lauren Alvarez, also known as The Organization Lady.
Alvarez, who has been organizing homes as a profession since 2008, says that she works side by side with the home owner on every organization project. She has found that the biggest problem for home owners is that they have difficulty keeping focus and should only work on one area at a time. When working in a space, you might leave the area to put something away in another room and be tempted to start working on that room instead of finishing the first. Alvarez also warns not to buy anything until the organization process has already started. So how do you get started, you ask?
Alvarez recommends dividing the room into quadrants and systematically sort through everything there. Place items into one of four piles (keep, relocate, donate, trash). Once you finish sorting the quadrant, put the trash in trash bags, and take out to the trash can. Put all the donate items into boxes or bags and move to your car. Get it out of the house! Continue sorting the next quadrant, and remove the Trash and Donate piles as you finish each section. Once you’ve gone through the entire room, you should have two piles — Keep and Relocate. Sort through these items again to make sure there are not even more items to trash or donate. When you take the Relocate items and place them in the room that they belong, do not be tempted to do any work in those other rooms. Lastly you will need to determine how you want to store or display the remaining Keep items. Remember that your goal is to have enough of what you need and not to be overwhelmed with too much stuff. If you don’t use it, you won’t use it and you should get rid of it!
I love using trays in staging and home decorating because they can help define a room’s purpose and take a design to the next level. It’s great when an accessory can be both functional and pretty to look at. These days serving trays can be found at just about any home décor store in any type of finish including wicker, metal, wood, resin, and leather. I often use trays in the homes that I stage® whether on a bed with vase of flowers and bottle of wine or in a game room displayed with vintage popcorn boxes and Coca-Cola classic. Trays can be used to contain and display collections or act an attractive centerpiece on the kitchen table. With the upcoming Christmas holiday, release your creativity and use items from the season to decorate your tray. Think hot chocolate and marshmallows, sprigs of holly, pine cones and more. The tray can be themed or eclectic – the design is all up to you!
Here are different serving trays used to stage vacant and occupied properties: